West River streetscape design still up in the air
A riverfront park off West River Street is coming soon, with Town Council approving a contract to complete the design and permitting for Phase I of the park.
The council has yet to decide on a design for a streetscape aspect of the West River Street project.
“We think we can come back to you with a final design that nails it all,” said Jeff Loux, Truckee town manager, referring to the streetscape design. He said they plan to come back to council with an update on the streetscape project and a final park design at the April 14 council meeting.
At a Feb. 25 meeting, council members could not agree on two options for a streetscape redesign. On Tuesday, town staff returned with three more designs which they did not recommend as good alternatives. The first would widen the sidewalk area along West River Street to allow for both a bike and pedestrian lane. The second alternative would do the same but along Mill Street, or the end of Riverside Drive.
“We would only be applying that type of treatment in a very small part of town,” said Hilary Hobbs, Truckee management analyst. “If it were something we were applying throughout the town it would be a good option, but it would be an opportunity to cause confusion with the number of visitors we have coming.”
The third alternative would widen pathways through the park to eight to 10 feet, allowing for bicycle traffic.
“There was concern that directing bicycles through the middle of the park would detract from the park experience,” said Hobbs. “It could also lead to more pedestrian bicycle conflict.”
Staff recommended they work on the original two options. The first includes placing a 16-foot wide sidewalk closest to the park, with angled parking between the two commercial sites and parallel parking in front of the buildings. This option, however, would not allow for a bike lane along the road and force some bicyclists to use the sidewalk.
The second option would make all parking along the south side of the street parallel. Concern arose about issues this could create with cyclists, as the bike lane would run right next to the parking spaces. Additionally, it would create a wider space for traffic and has the potential to allow cars to move faster though the area and create an unsafe environment for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The initial park design includes an upland area with benches, picnic tables and potentially public art. Closer to the river, the park will slope down into a bowl area that will allow for a better view of the river. This area would include planted areas; boulders and seat walls; and a river overlook.
Closer to the river, the park will slope down into a bowl area that will allow for a better view of the river. This area would include planted areas; boulders and seat walls; and a river overlook.
The bowl area would also serve as a landing place for a bridge over the Truckee River, which is proposed in Phase 4 of the Truckee River Legacy Trail. Currently the Truckee Donner Land Trust is proposing to acquire 26 acres on the south side of the river, which the Legacy Trail will run through.
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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